Your plumbing system is just that, a system. The more you know about it, the fewer plumbing crises you will experience.
Your plumbing brings water in (supply), and it guides it out (drain). The water you drink and bath from is delivered from either a municipal supply or from a well (which takes a pump). Conversely, your drain system is either hooked up to a municipal sewer line or to a septic system.
Your incoming water is delivered under pressure, typically 35 to 100 psi. It is constant. Unless you stop paying your bill, it will remain constant. Your dwelling should have a single water valve that controls the incoming water. It’s referred to a your “whole house shut off valve”.
Two important factors:
- Know where the shut off valve is
- Keep a clear aisle to it. Don’t go to bed tonight without assuring these two things.
If any pressurized water pipe is broken, you will need to shut down that water valve. Pronto! After, you should reach out to an experienced plumber to help repair the pipe.
There are (in most houses) pressurized water pipes in walls, in the attic, under the floor in the crawlspace. Unless you refer to the dwelling’s blueprints when placing a decoration on the wall, be careful not to drill or drive nails in “unknown” walls without being conscious of hidden pipes. Same idea when drilling holes in the floor or ceiling if running electrical cable.
Appliance Hook-Ups – Dishwashers, Clothes washers, refrigerator icemakers, water softeners, water filters, coffee makers. Each one operates under different supply pressure thus each one probably uses a different style or strength of supply line. Each supply line uses pipe (different materials), washers, couplings, clamps, hoses, etc. Each is made for a reason; research the project to best understand what you need. It is a best practice to read your owner’s manual when choosing the proper lines and hoses – or you will after your first try fails. Side note: do not disrespect a supply line just because it is small, like an under-sink water filter. If you are away from the house and it breaks, it will flood the floor the same as the faucet line.
Managing the Outgoing Drains – Just because a drain may be larger and not necessarily under pressure like a supply line, it doesn’t mean it can be used as a chute to rid yourself of the momentary inconvenience. Don’t look the other way and “hide” your liquid cooking grease, your paper towels, deceased critters, coffee grounds, hygiene wraps, bits of last night’s dinner, solvents, and the list goes on, down a drain. Understand, clearing or breaking a clogged drain can be difficult and far more expensive than simply walking the above articles to the trash can. Besides, if you are using a septic system, all those items end up filling your tank. They do not break down like the intended naturals.
Shower and Bath Drain – The average person sheds between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Every day! Multiply this by the number of “people” using the shower, tub, or sink. That’s quite a web going down the drain. Manage what goes toward the drain by placing a mesh cover over the shower or tub drain. For the sink, do the same if applicable or be conscious of what lands in the basin and wipe it out with a damp tissue placing it in a trash can.
Managing the Outside – if you live in a dwelling with exterior water faucets, don’t leave the valve handle open just because they have a garden house hooked up. Thinking there are no worries when they are attached to a hose can fool you. Hoses fail.
Winterize – Water expands when it freezes. Water pipes that are exposed to winter temperatures, can burst. This can be an expensive mess.
If you have a crawlspace air vent, close it in the autumn, open in the spring. Winter temperatures will creep in and freeze the water lines under the floors.
Disconnect any garden hoses.
Insulate any of these pipes that you can get your hands on. A local plumbing supply house will have what you need.
By the way, if you are building a house, begin the winterization process by installing pipe insulation before the finished walls are installed. Add insulation to the otherwise exposed pipes, over and under the living spaces.